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Comment Re:Monopolies are bad (Score 1) 62

Brick & Mortar businesses' response has been to cut back selection. Just TRY to find good precision screwdrivers locally, for example. Sears, Home Depot, Lowes, smaller hardware chains, etc - no dice. Frys has some decent sets but they're not here in the northeast so they aren't an option.

That's because retail space is expensive. So the stores have to basically sell through volume in order to compete with the likes of Amazon. So they'll only stock the most common items people buy in large quantity. Chances are most shoppers are online-savvy so more niche items like precision screwdrivers will be online only rather than occupy a bit of the shelf that they could use to sell something that moves quicker.

The savings from not having a B&M location mean cheaper prices (sure there's a warehouse, but a warehouse can be located in a cheaper area, often where shipping infrastructure is good versus easy accessibility for customers). Sure there's shipping but if you ship enough and have a warehouse near the shipping center, your costs are very low

Back in the day when the only way to get stuff is your local store, carrying a lot of stuff made life convenient. Now that everyone is shopping online anyways, as s store your best bet is to optimize for stuff that moves and that people need to buy repeatedly (like consumables).

Comment Re:Unbelievable (Score 1) 108

Believe it or not, Comcast was a MAJOR upgrade from AT&T for me.

I used to have the @Home cable modem service and was quite pleased with it. This is before the days of Doxis and there was no throttling. My cable modem was capable of 10Mbps up and 10Mbps down. Later, @Home reduced it to 10Mbps down and 1Mbps up. Times were still good since that was an insane amount of bandwidth.

Then AT&T bought out @Home and switched it to AT&T Broadband Internet (ATTBI). They decided to reduce the upstream bandwidth to 128Kbps, but they aggregated all of the users through the SAME 128Kbps pipe. As a result, on the best of days I saw 40% packet loss with ping. My old 28.8Kbps modem was faster than my cable modem. It was like this for 9 months. Technical support was absolutely useless. There were newspaper articles about it but still the incompetence continued.

When Comcast took over things improved drastically. I will go out of my way to avoid anything to do with AT&T. While Comcast has a lot of problems, it is nothing like what I experienced with AT&T. AT&T was absolute shit.

Comment Re:AnonCow (Score 2) 73

I understand, but I think the risk is that it becomes too easy to use these non-lethal (but very painful) devices when the police are not in any real danger. They could become the quick solution to too many problems. Eventually they might also have lethal weapons.

I think that one of the keys to reducing police brutality is a better connection to the people that they are supposed to be serving, and I think drones weaken that connection.

Comment Concept isn't new, but is the technology (Score 1) 53

There have been flying cars and vertical takeoff aircraft for decades now. The issues have always been engineering practicality. Carrying capacity, efficiency, range etc. The question is whether they have found a way to fix the technical issues that lead to these problems.

All electric may wind up cheaper, but the energy storage is even lower than for gasoline, so the weight problem becomes worse.

Vertical takeoff helps in some ways, but tends to lead to less efficient aerodynamics in cruise, and requires even more energy storage.

Very large single props are the most efficient (to reduce then number of tip vorticies), but lead to a helicopter like design. That leads to perhaps the most serious question - how is this better at flying than a helicopter? Helicopters are already very energy inefficient .

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 3, Informative) 122


And I'm telling you that lithium-ion batteries are not a "single tech", that they've dramatically improved in power and energy density (both volumetric and gravimetric) over time. And if you doubt this, I repeat: go find and older lithium-ion battery and compare it to a new one.

As for li-air, yes, the maximum energy density of li-air is about 10x of the maximum of li-ion. Namely because it works by direct oxidation rather than intercalation, so you don't need the mass of the matrix into which the ions get intercalated. It is not a "magical tech". It exists. Like all technologies in all fields, however, you have to reach production specs. This means not only maintaining a combination of safety, reliability, longevity, efficiency, temperature range, power density (charge and discharge) and energy density, but also affordability in mass production. And to be able to guarantee that you can do all of these things to a high enough level for investors to take the risk.

As with all technologies, you start out with promise in one or two fields, but serious problems in many others that you have to deal with. With time you refine them, until all of refined to a state where the product is commercialized. Li-air has actually been advancing quite well. In the early days one of its biggest problems were efficiency and longevity, but they've made huge strides in both in recent years. Lithium sulfur still looks nearer term, but commercialization of Li-air appears to have gone from "possible" to "quite probable".

Comment Re:I say BS (Score 1) 122

If you don't want to be homeless, build a house.

Homeless generally means both "not a landowner" and "has no money" which prevents the former even if they wanted to go there.

If you don't want to be hungry, go fishing.

Buy a license, buy a pole, collect bait somehow, weather considerations, legal locations, seasons, specific game fish, prepping, finding wood to cook with...

If you want to survive, get your ass moving instead of wasting the day pseudo-intellectualizing or lamenting about the unfairness of nature that has always existed since the beginning of time when it blew the first human village up with a volcano and the laws of the universe didn't even blink, let alone give a shit.

No, the universe doesn't, for sure. But people who are worth a shit, do give a shit.

WRT "get moving", to quote a fine summary of just one aspect of the problem, "I'm pretty sure McDonald's has an underwear inside the pants policy" (Source here at 3:31 but by all means, check out the whole performance, it's pretty much spot on from beginning to end.)

Comment Re:Halfway There (Score 2) 375

Right. Out of the 330 million people in the US (not counting the broader market, there's "nobody" who wants a gun that can't be accidentally picked up and used by their young children or an intruder. Literally "nobody". Yeah, totally believe you.

They have a niche. You want to prevent them from filling it.

Comment Re:Progress! (Score 4, Interesting) 122

Actually, that is a concern. Li-ion batteries don't have lithium metal in them unless something goes wrong. Lithium-air batteries always have lithium metal in them, by design.

In practice, you'll probably see a bit of the energy density given up in order to beef up the casing to prevent rupture/fire.

Thankfully, lithium-sulfur batteries don't use lithium metal, just lithium polysulfides. The max energy density isn't as high, but it's still quite good. They're already on the market, albeit in small quantities for applications that require the absolute highest rechargeable energy density (mainly aerospace).

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